German dressage back on top in Aachen

  • The German team stormed to victory in the Aachen Nations Cup with an average counting team score of 77.383%. The four-strong British team couldn’t match last week’s fabulous form, when the Brits won the team event in Rotterdam, but this was valuable match practice for emerging combinations.

    Germany filled the top two spots individually with Helen Langehanenberg (Damon Hill, pictured) pulling off 81.12% to take the lead from fellow Annabel Balkenhol (Dablino), who scored 77.04%. Their final counting score was Isabell Werth’s 73.97%, while their drop score of 71.83% was more that 3% higher than the best British score of 68.68%.

    Three of the top four horses individually are by Donnerhall, while the fourth, Dablino, is by his son De Niro.

    Costly mistakes

    Best of the Brits, Michael Eilberg suffered costly mistakes in the two-time changes thanks to a persistent fly landing on Marakov’s head.

    “He’s a fidget with things like flies,” said Michael. “But I was pleased with how he behaved in this big atmosphere. We haven’t been here before and it’s an important show.”

    Pathfinder Anna Ross Davies scored 66.51% on Pegasus MK, on whom she now permanently has the ride after Jane Sewell bought him from Peter Bowles.

    “I was going for a safe clear,” said Anna. “The mistakes in the one-times were all mine – I was doing the human windmill with my legs.”

    Nikki Crisp was last of all 37 competitors in front of the 5,000-stong crowd. She was trending above 70% on Pasoa until mistakes crept in and she finished on 68.42%. Her score complete the counting trio with an average of 66.11%.

    Britain finished eighth of the nine nations – an improvement on the nation’s performance here last year.

    Hannah Biggs was the drop score on Weltzin after a tricky ride in which the usually compliant stallion was uncooperative in piaffe. Hannah was “gutted” with 61.1%, but this isn’t the last we’ll see of this pair.

    View full results

    • Don’t miss the full report from Aachen in H&H magazine, out Thursday 4 July

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